For the next several days, McCormick Place will be filled with nearly 1,000 cars, trucks, SUVs, and concept vehicles. But the 108th edition of the Chicago Auto Show promises to bring so much more, that anyone could be transformed into a car buff.
Smart cars, sports stars, and a talking robot are just a few of the things you’ll see during the 2016 Auto Show. Here are some of the top activities to look out for during the largest auto show in North America.
1. Get in the Driver’s Seat
Guests can get behind the wheel of a Jeep on one of three test tracks set up inside McCormick Place, according to the event’s website. Drivers can test their skills by taking a Jeep through a steep incline. There will also be six outdoor driving options with various vehicle makes and models.
2. Mirror, Mirror
Right now, many drivers can access music using their smartphones, but Apple and Android are taking car tech to the next gear. Attendees will be able to see CarPlay and Android Auto at work. According to the Auto Show’s website, the programs use mirroring technology to display a smartphone’s operating system inside the vehicle. Drivers can then choose which apps to use without using their hands.
3. Smart, Super, and Sleek
The Chicago Auto Show will have plenty of vehicles that will make guests “ooo” and “ahh.” From the eco-friendly 2016 BMW I3, to the 2016 Acura NSX, guests will be able to peek inside some of hottest cars to hit the road. And don’t forget about the concept cars. The 2016 Mazda Sema MX-5 Speedster will sport a new “experimental” color called “Blue Ether,” according to organizers.
4. Welcome to the Winner’s Circle
A few lucky Chicago Auto Show attendees will be able to take home a brand new car. Guests can win a 2016 Buick Encore, or a Chicago Blackhawks custom Camaro, according to organizers. Cubs fans can also enter a sweepstakes for a trip to Spring Training at Sloan Park in Mesa, Arizona.
5. Hi, Hank!
He talks, he moves, and he comes with his own applause sound effect. Chicago Auto Show organizers have brought back Hank the robot to provide a one-of-a-kind interaction for guests. Hank was named after Henry Ford, the founding father of Ford and the man behind the assembly line, according to the event’s website. NBC 5’s Marley Kayden captured Hank in action during a media preview day Thursday:
Meet Hank! Posted by Marley Kayden on Thursday, February 11, 2016
6. Celebrity Appearances
The Chicago Auto Show will also bring out some of the biggest names in sports. Anthony Rizzo, Bill Cartwright, Toni Kukoč, Tony Esposito, and Scott Darling are just a few of athletes who are scheduled to make an appearance during the nine-day event.
7. Revving Up Support for Charity
The First Look Charity Benefit has helped raise $42 million for local charities over the past 24 years, according to organizers. This year, First Look Charity ticket sales will help support 18 programs, including the Boys and Girls Club of Chicago and Jesse White Tumblers. It will be held on Feb. 12. Guests can also earn a coupon for $7 admission for bringing three cans of food to the Auto Show from Feb 17-19. Food will be donated to A Safe Haven, a community food pantry that helps Chicago’s homeless as well as residents who live in food deserts.